WATCH: For the first time in two decades, Victoria could once again be hosting the North American Indigenous Games. The Songhees First Nation and neighbouring First Nations have officially placed a bid for the 2020 event. As Isabelle Raghem reports, organizers are confident with their chances.
The Songhees First Nation is leading Victoria’s bid for the 2020 North American Indigenous Games.
“We would just like to bring. It’s been a while now,” says Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam.
The 2020 games were initially awarded to Winnipeg, but when that bid fell through, Victoria jumped at the chance to play host.
“To throw our support as a region behind the Songhees First Nation, they will win this bid,” says Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
The last time the games were on Vancouver Island was in 2008 when Duncan hosted. Victoria hosted the games in 1997.
It’s a large crowd-drawing event organizers want back in B.C’s capital.
“[The games are] electric, I love it,” says Micheal Maresca who competed in the 2017 games. “The energy is amazing. It’s always fun, it just builds you up and makes you wanna play harder.”
The 2017 North American Indigenous Games in Toronto drew 5,000 athletes, competing in 14 sports.
“We hope to bring a lot more people to Victoria and Toronto’s numbers they just released were $44 million in economic impact to the region,” says Sam.
Sam says the revenue from the games outweighs the $10 million price tag to host them. Tne cost would be split between the province, the Ottawa and the organizers.
“It would mean the world to show my family that could not make it all the way out to Ontario and my peers to show them what I work for,” says swimmer Julia Su.
Victoria’s final bid will be sent next month before the winner is revealed in May. The Songhees First Nation says it’s optimistic they’ll come out on top.